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Why all this strange food this month?

Well every year, we hold a Wildfood Festival where I live in New Zealand, attended by over Twenty thousand people per day, from all over the world. For a report and photos of this year’s event (2002) <click here>

A crocodile sandwich and make it snappy! So said an old joke years and years ago . . . not so much of a joke now though, when here in New Zealand farmed Australian crocodile is readily available, very expensive, but readily available . . . at approximately US $30 a kilogram.

Okay, I know its not your usual, every day meat that one might find at your local supermarket, but this month is all about wildfoods so lets go really wild and let me introduce you to crocodile. Which leaves me to ponder . . . is it a meat, is it a seafood . . . what does one class it as? The raw meat is white and looks like cooked cod in colour, but has the texture of meat and guess what? It actually does taste like chicken!

For that Asian flavour I have used ingredients like:

  • Vermicelli rice noodles
  • Shiitaake mushrooms - these are an Asian mushroom that are wonderfully beefy in flavour and quite meaty in texture
  • Inoke mushrooms - these incredibly funky mushrooms have thin long stalks and a small head to them and are great as a garnish for dishes
  • Star anise - look in your local Asian food supplier for these if you cannot find them at the supermarket, with their star shape and small seeds in each arm of the star look amazing and have this gorgeous aromatic aniseed flavour and
  • Cinnamon quill / stick - this is from which that ground/powdered is derived. There is a similar spice called cassia, that are a lot cheaper but are far harsher in flavour

Chef Rick Stein was the inspiration for this week’s recipe. He produced a similar dish using a type of miniature abalone now being found off the Welsh coast. So if you can’t find or stomach crocodile then try this recipe with another food . . . like chicken breasts, after all if crocodile tastes like chicken . . . . .


extra virgin olive oil
cinnamon stick / quill
star anise
vermicelli rice noodles
shiitaake mushrooms
inoke mushrooms
green ginger
spring onions


  • Layer a generous amount of the olive oil on the bottom of a tray
  • Season the crocodile with sea salt and pepper and place onto the tray
  • Evenly place the star anise on the top and break the cinnamon stick / quill over it
  • Sprinkle with white wine, vermouth and or water
  • Cover with tin foil and bake at 100ºC for 2 - 3 hours until tender
  • Remove from the oven and allow to cool
  • Slice thinly at a 45º angle
  • Place the noodles in a bowl and cover with boiling water until softened, drain, rinse under cold running water and drain again. Toss with the crocodile cooking liquor
  • Thinly slice the shiitaake mushrooms and the spring onions (for great presentation do this on an extreme angle)
  • Peel and thinly slice the ginger, cut into thin strips

To put the dish together:

  • Place a small amount of the noodles in the centre of the plate
  • Add a few slices of the shiitaake mushrooms
  • Add a few slices of the inoke mushrooms
  • Sprinkle with some of the ginger and spring onions
  • Add a few slices of the crocodile
  • Continue to layer until finished
  • Top with a sprig of coriander leaves
  • Sprinkle the plate with some extra virgin olive oil ( I used some truffle infused oil) and some light soy sauce and balsamic vinegar

Enjoy and bon appetit . . . . .

Chef's terminology:

litres   tsp = teaspoon
millelitres   tbs = tablespoon
kilograms   sq = sufficient quantity (add to taste)
grams   pc = piece, meaning a whole one of

Recipe from professional
Chef Tallyrand

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